|Robert Bentley: From sex scandal to criminal misuse|
of law-enforcement resources.
APR publisher Bill Britt said sources told him that Bentley's actions were a glaring violation of law, and these matters (and others) currently are part of a criminal investigation. From today's article:
Gov. Robert Bentley pressured law enforcement officers to use federal and state resources to target those critical of his relationship with senior advisor Rebekah Caldwell Mason, according to high ranking officers and staff.
In an effort to find potentially damaging information on those who spoke out against the couple, Bentley instructed top law enforcement agents to investigate private citizens, in direct conflict with the law, said those close to the matter. (These individuals spoke on background to alreporter.com because of a criminal investigation surrounding this and other matters).
Two individuals with detailed knowledge of the incidents say Bentley ordered the use of the National Crime Information Center, (NCIC) and the Law Enforcement Tactical System (LETS) to find any incriminating evidence that might be used against attorney Donald V. Watkins, and Legal Schnauzer blogger Roger Shuler.
I broke the story of the Bentley/Mason affair here at Legal Schnauzer on August 31, 2015. The story exploded on the national scene last week when Spencer Collier, former head of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), told reporters he had seen and heard direct evidence of an inappropriate relationship between the governor and his aide. That story quickly was followed by the release of audio recordings that had Bentley talking about touching Mason's breasts from behind, reaching "under" her to apparently touch her behind and the area between her legs, and stating more than a dozen times that he loved her.
Watkins, at his Facebook page, published a multi-part series titled "Forbidden Love: Robert Bentley's Secret Love Affair." (See Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.) Here are just a few of the details Watkins' reporting added to the story:
The Governor’s relationship with Rebekah Mason raised eyebrows around the Capitol and with Mrs. Bentley. Rebekah Mason was quickly emerging as the Governor’s voice on any important speech or comment made by him during his first term. In time, Rebekah Mason would run the state of Alabama through her special personal relationship with Bentley.
By July 2013, Rebekah Mason had moved out of the governor’s office to serve as the communications director for Bentley’s re-election campaign. After the election, she became Bentley’s “Senior Political Advisor”. The two became inseparable. Bentley fell in love with Rebekah Mason. She became his paramour. After achieving paramour status, Mason had unfettered access to state trooper transportation, the state aircraft, the Governor’s mansion, and a host of other state resources and privileges typically reserved for the First Lady.
In an interview with Bill Britt, Watkins said he was not surprised to be receiving special attention from the governor. Writes Britt:
In an interview with alreporter.com Watkins said, “I knew he was targeting me, I have known for years that Bentley was upset by my public criticism of his administration and his policies.”
Watkins said Bentley first targeted him in 2013 using banking regulators: “We came under excessive regulatory review and are still under excessive regulatory review,” said Watkins.
He said in 2014 Bentley asked the SEC to investigate his businesses, even through they are not under SEC regulation. “That investigation went nowhere,” said Watkins.
But again, in 2015, Bentley sought a criminal investigation, according to Watkins, “I provided the investigators with all the documentation and that case was close within 30 days.”
“Every case started with a hint or a suggestion of impropriety on my part by Bentley’s Office and each case went nowhere,” said Watkins.
ALEA was twice asked to conduct a criminal investigation into Watkins, this has been confirmed by law enforcement officers.
As for me, I should not be surprised at anything, given all my wife, Carol, and I have been through since first encountering rocky legal waters in Shelby County some 16 years ago. I've been arrested and thrown in jail for five months; we lost our home of 25 years to a foreclosure that almost certainly was wrongful; we were evicted from an apartment in our new "home" of Springfield, Missouri, even though we had filed an appeal that put an automatic stay on the proceedings; during the eviction process, I watched three deputies surround Carol as she tried to retrieve some of our personal belongings, slamming her to the ground and yanking on her arms so violently that it badly bruised one and broke the other in a way that required trauma surgery for repair.
|Washington Post report about|
The White House Plumbers
(From Washington Post)
Despite all of that, Bill Britt's report has left me in a state of . . . well, I guess you could call it "dumbfoundedness." It's well established by now that Robert Bentley is a creep and a phony, but I did not see him as fundamentally evil. But today's news suggests Bentley has stooped to a Nixonian level of political chicanery. Carol and I have periodically wondered aloud to each other--somewhat in jest--if our e-mail and cell phone are secure, if someone has gone through our personal financial and health records, if someone has influenced one-time friends (even family members) to harm us or work against us.
The answer to all of those questions now appears to be yes. And God only knows what else Bentley and his henchmen have been up to. We long have thought our No. 1 enemies were associated with former Governor Bob Riley and his son, Rob "Uday Hussein" Riley. We have little doubt that the Rileys reside in an "ethics-free zone" where they re convinced they can get away with most anything. But it now seems the Bible-thumping Robert Bentley is every bit as crazed as are the Rileys.
From Bill Britt's article:
The Alabama Political Reporter has already confirmed the US Department of Justice is investigating the firings at ALEA, and if actions against Collier and others were part of a cover-up orchestrated by Bentley and Mason.
Shuler, on his site Legal Schnauzer, has written numerous articles on Bentley and Mason. In an August 2015 post he wrote, “Rebekah Caldwell Mason, a married mother of three from Bentley’s home base of Tuscaloosa, was the governor’s mistress in an affair that sources say raises a number of possible legal issues–including use of the state jet and a state trooper’s services for personal reasons that had nothing to do with Bentley’s official role.” He also wrote, “[S]ources say, quickly became more than just a communications director to Bentley. Their affair became so widely known that it diluted any moral authority the governor might have had. He’s been impotent as governor for at least the last six months,” one source told Legal Schnauzer. “People have been going into his office and saying, ‘Do what I want or I’m going to play the girlfriend card.’”
While the media’s and public’s attention has been primary focused on the alleged affair, Bentley’s real problems are the issues before law enforcement.
As president, Richard Nixon had a special investigative unit called The White House Plumbers, Their role was to stop media leaks and harass or punish perceived enemies of the administration. Has Dr. Robert Bentley, the mild-mannered dermatologist from Tuscaloosa, morphed into that kind of political crook?
It sure looks that way from here--where we apparently have been one of his targets for quite some time.